Nieuws - 16 september 2010

Foreign students demand better housing conditions

International students staying in hotel Hof van Wageningen have sent an open letter to protest against their housing conditions. They want better facilities.

Students in Hof van Wageningen want to have a study desk each.
A hundred and twenty students share one kitchen, eight toilets; internet is very slow or not available. They have to go outside to shower in something resembling a container. In a letter, signed by 82 of the 120 occupants, the students demand to have improvements. Such as more and better cooking facilities, a minimum of six washing machines (there are now three), good internet connections and a study desk in the room for each of them. With winter approaching, they want to have showers indoors. Students in Hof van Wageningen each pay 240 euros a month and find that this is too much for these unsatisfactory housing conditions. 'If our housing conditions are not promptly changed, we wouldn't pay the amount that you ask for', they write. In that case, they would pay five euros a day instead of eight.
The letter was handed over on Tuesday to, among others, rector magnificus Martin Kropff of Wageningen University, the director of Hof van Wageningen and student housing agency Idealis. The Student Council and the Wageningen Students' Organization support the demands of the students.
A formal answer to the letter isn't in sight yet, says Columbian Catalina Angel, one of the signatories. 'The hotel claims that the internet connection has been improved, but it has not.' The students have not received any reply from the university yet.
Angel arrived at the end of August to do a Masters in Environmental Sciences. Two days ago, she was informed that a room under Idealis would be available for her in mid October. 'At least I know now that I can move in a month's time.' 
While waiting for a room from student housing agency Idealis, international students are being accommodated temporarily in Hof van Wageningen. Offices have been converted into living spaces for two to five people.
Overseas students are also housed in the Brink Residence in Wageningen and in a holiday park in Hoenderloo.
All over the country, much attention has been drawn to the room shortage in Wageningen. A camera crew from the television programme 'Ochtendspits' visited students in the Wielerbaan camp site this morning. The video can be seen here, at 5.45 minutes (in Dutch).